Kabini – The land of spectacular landscapes and wildlife
The whispers of the drying leaves, the silence of the forest, the chirping of birds, the calmness of River Kabini, thrilling safaris, and the excitement of sighting wildlife, are these enough reasons to visit Kabini? Trust me there are much more. Every wildlife enthusiast, nature lover, and person who loves the calmness of forests will find his or her reason to visit Kabini. Kabini is one of the richest biodiversity locale and tiger territories in the country.
Explore the diverse fauna and flora in the backwaters of the river reservoir near the Kabini Dam. The grassy arenas formed during the summers with the water level receding invite the wildlife on the banks. Located on the edge of the Rajeev Gandhi National Park or popularly known as Nagarhole, the Kabini corridor connects the Nagarhole and Bandipur forests or the national parks. Part of the Nilgiris Biosphere, Kabini connects Nagarhole, Bandipur, Mudumalai, Wayanad, and many other parks and reserves making it one of the largest forest areas in the country.
Just 200 km away from Bangalore and 60 km from Mysuru, the Kabini forest reserve is the most popular wildlife destination in Karnataka. One of the nesting wildlife National Parks in India was once upon a time the hunting lodges of the Maharaja of Mysore.
Kabini, also known as the Tiger land, is home to more than 250 species of birds, approximately 40-50 species of mammals, and other animals. Witness the herds of deer and elephants, wild boars, birds, and the most exciting breed of tigers and leopards. If you are lucky or have a good amount of time in hand and patience, leave no opportunities to see the rarest Black Panther.
What to expect in Kabini
Accorded with the status of a National Park in 1974 and spread across 644 sq km, Kabini is famous for the sighting of wild elephants in India. The other animals like leopards, black panthers, deer, wild boars Chital, Sambar, Four-horned antelope, Gaur, Wild pig, Asian Elephant, Common Langur, and the Bonnet Macaque and numerous birds like kingfisher, hornbills, larks, trogons and many more. Kabini is one of the best forests to capture leopards in India.
Hop on to the jungle jeep or the boat ride every morning and evening and the forests and river Kabini will surprise you with an array of exciting and mesmerizing views of the jungle, waterfront, wildlife, birds, and the flora. A good sighting of herds of elephants, crocodiles, birds, deer, Gaur, Chital, and Sambhar is usually guaranteed. If you are lucky enough and have patience get a chance for a visual treat of sighting a leopard or a black panther. An exhilarating Jeep safari in the dense forest is an experience of a lifetime.
Kabini River Lodge – Accomodation
To experience the rustic stay in the lap of nature there are ample stay options available in the forest with a range of budgets to suit everyone’s pocket. However, the Jungle Lodges & Resorts is one of the best options available. The Jeep safaris are conducted by them. Enjoy the luxury of modern comforts in the lap of nature by waking up with the chirping of birds and sleeping with the silence or the sound of forests.
The dense forests, river safari in backwaters, endangered species, boat rides in Kabini River, Jeep safari and much more will not only win your hearts but will take you back to the woodlands again and again.
Bhogeswara, the Elephant – Mr. Kabini
Bhogeshwara Elephant Kabini
Gigantic 70-years old tusker will now be remembered fondly or seen in pictures and video. Bhogeswara was the elephant who was often referred to as Mr. Kabini for his tusks, lost his life due to age, and left from one heavenly abode to the other.
The elephant was named Bhogeswara as it was found roaming quite often near the Bhogeswara camp of the Kabini backwaters. He was found dead on 11 June 2022, near Kabini reservoir in Bandipur- Nagarhole Reserve Forest.
With one tusk of 8 feet (2.54 mts) and the other of 7.5 feet (2.34 mts) long almost touching the ground while walking, this elephant had the longest tusks in Asia. Wildlife lovers and photographers were deeply saddened by the demise of Bhogeswara as it was a visual treat to watch him walking royally with those long tusks. The forest department is planning to preserve its tusks at an exhibition centre and to make Bhogeswara the icon of the protection and preservation of elephants as a tribute.
How to reach
Kabini Peacock and Safari
The beautiful canopies on the forest roads and the scenic drive lead you to the Kabini forests and backwaters. You can reach Kabini only by road crossing the dense lush green forests. Be prepared with cameras, you might encounter a herd of elephants or deer.
Kempegowda International Airport, Bangalore is the nearest airport which is about 200 km away. For some of the domestic flights, Mysuru airport can also be considered and is just 60 km away from Kabini forests.
Mysuru Junction is the biggest and nearest railway station to reach by train. It is about 60 km away from Kabini and is connected to all the major cities of Karnataka and the rest of the country.
Kabini is well connected by road and is the only to reach the last mile and to your chosen accommodation.
Best time to visit
Kabini Spotted Deer
A one-stop destination for all nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts, Kabini is an all-year-round destination. The summer months of March, April, and May are scorching and the forests dry up. This brings animals to the banks of the River Kabini and the chances of sightings are more there. You can enjoy the congregation of Asiatic Elephants here.
Post-monsoon when the river, the reservoir and the backwaters are in their full glory that is best time to visit Kabini. June to February is the best time when the chances of sightings are highest. The park is open throughout the year and the weather is always moderate.
Kabini is one of the most sought enthralling destinations for travellers, explorers, wildlife enthusiast, nature lovers, or someone who just want to unwind in the blissful environment.
Image credits: Sujith Surendran and Aprameya Bharadwaj